Holiday stress, in the form of headaches, grinding your teeth or feeling irritated with your family is the result of too much to do and way too little time to get it all done. That pressured feeling can stay way beyond the holidays unless you make the decision, here and now, that stress is not your friend. Of course, you will have some stress, but if you try some of these ideas on you may finding a more relaxed you under the tree on Christmas morning.
1. Make yourself a time table and schedule memory makers. The holiday season is filled with have tos and shoulds. Those must do activities that are already on your checklist. Why not add a fun activity a week in the few weeks before Christmas? It could be building a gingerbread house, picking out socks to give to a homeless shelter, making your own wreath for the front door, decorating stockings, watching The Sound of Music, or the Miracle on 34th Street.
Believe it or not, taking the time to be creative with your kids is a stress reducer. During that family time you will be so focused on your play time that when you get back to your list it won’t seem that important.
Kids matter and they need all the down time you can give them. You don’t want them to grow up thinking they are human “doing” rather than human beings; make it a point to focus on the fact that your kids are allowed to enjoy activities with you this year.
2. Make a gift list that doesn’t break the bank. Give yourself a budget and don’t go over it, no matter what. By sticking to the budget, you save yourself a whole month of less stress you would have had hanging over your head in those unopened credit card bills. There’s nothing more stressful than trying to figure out how to pay for things you knew you shouldn’t have bought, and the kids played with for five minutes and broke.
3. Take your kids to get a tree; watch how kids stay right in the moment. They can teach you all about staying right where your feet are and enjoying what you are doing. They are not at all worried about bills or shopping. They live in the moment and are so delighted to pick out a tree for their house. if that adventure isn’t for you, you might want to take your family to buy a toy for a family that is hurting financially this holiday season.
4. Here’s a great idea: Your stress can take a backseat this season when you stop to consciously take a deep breath, and right there in the grocery line, letting yourself take a mini vacation to a warm tropical island in your head, and in your mini day dream see yourself relaxed and at peace, in spite of all that is going on around you.
5. Buy yourself a present. Treat yourself to something you like. Even if it is a scarf, you will feel better, with your little purchase just for you. Treating yourself to a little gift is a way of saying to yourself, you matter and you are important. Self love at this time of year goes a long way with a person who gives out a lot during the year.
6. Take a day off work in the middle of the week to shop. Time is always the biggest problem during the holidays. There doesn’t seem to be enough of it. With a day off, you can knock off half your list and maybe even take in a movie yourself. You might even want to sit down and look over this past year and think of all the blessings you have received.
7. Play classical music in the car. The sound of classical music is emotionally soothing and can put your mind in a creative spot. Try to recognize the instruments being used or the composer when he was writing the serenade for you.
After saying goodnight to the kids, take another deep breath, and tell yourself that deep down, basically all is well.
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